Haverhill City Council Postpones Zoning Hearing, Charter Change Ballot Item

Haverhill City Hall. (WHAV News file photograph.)

In addition to the threat to human health the coronavirus causes is the strain it is putting on local businesses. Many are already feeling a serious pinch and others will as this disease continues. Last night, Haverhill City Council members discussed ways to help.

Councilor Joseph J. Bevilacqua floated the idea of temporarily allowing restaurants and hotels to keep the meal taxes and room taxes that they collect. He also suggested waiving all downtown parking fees for the time being and allowing laid-off workers to delay any city payments they have due. The mayor thanked him for his suggestions and promised to take them under advisement.

Bevilacqua also expressed his concern for senior citizens who may not be getting adequate food supplies because of empty shelves and fear of exposure. He suggested that perhaps the meals for school children program could be extended to seniors in need.

“So, one thing that I thought we could do is simply expand the food program that we are providing for our school kids and make it available to seniors as well. That will provide them with at least some nourishment during the day and provide the same kind of grab packages for the seniors,” he said.

In addition, the councilor proposed delaying a public hearing scheduled for April 21 to consider some controversial changes to Haverhill’s zoning ordinances. The council agreed unanimously and rescheduled that hearing for July 14.

In other actions, a proposal to place a question on the ballot in the upcoming November election was tabled until the March 31 council meeting. That question pertains to whether or not there should be a petition to change the city charter—a change that would create a ward-based council of seven representatives in addition to four other at-large representatives. The council voted unanimously to table the proposal.

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